Chelsea FC Month in Review: Grading Each Performance from February
With February come and gone, it's time to look back at Chelsea's performances in the month that was.
In the moment, it's easy to get caught up with talks of disaster, but I'm hoping a more rational thought process can prevail. We're removed from a tough month, and Chelsea aren't in a bad spot.
They aren't in a great spot, mind you, but things could be much worse.
With that said, I've looked back at every match, trying to make sense of it all. Feel free to let me know what you think about what transpired in the 29 days of February.
Feb. 5 Manchester United: D
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After 55 minutes, it looked like Chelsea would have their best win of the season.
After 80 minutes, it looked like Chelsea might still hold onto their dwindling lead.
After 90 minutes, Chelsea had blown a 3-0 lead and drawn with Manchester United.
It was an emotional roller coaster, and Chelsea didn't deserve more than a point. United weren't awarded a penalty when they should've been, and then they received an incredibly soft penalty to pull within a goal.
With some horrible defending, the Blues managed to let United level the score. Then Juan Mata and Gary Cahill had wonderful strikes that would've given Chelsea an improbable win.
Chelsea didn't deserve the win, and they're lucky to have earned a point. It was a poor performance to start off a poor month.
Feb. 11 Everton: F
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Chelsea lost at Goodison Park for the third consecutive year, and they were thoroughly embarrassed by Everton.
The Toffees came out strong, and they simply outplayed Chelsea. The 2-0 scoreline may not tell the story, but it's the fairest result.
Chelsea had most of the possession, and they had a few more chances than Everton. Unfortunately, they couldn't find the back of the net.
Steven Pienaar scored early to put Everton up, and Denis Stracqualursi scored late to put the game away.
The match prompted a Chelsea meeting that heated up the talks of sacking Andre Villas-Boas. Chelsea haven't recovered from this match yet.
If Chelsea don't turn things around soon, this could be the match that is credited with sending Chelsea into their season-ending tailspin.
Feb. 18 Birmingham City: D+
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Even with a week to prepare, Chelsea came out flat against Birmingham City.
Like me, they seemed to overlook the Championship side. Chelsea weren't ready to play, and Birmingham were thinking upset.
After an atrocious attempted clear by the Chelsea defense, Birmingham opened the scoring in the 20th minute. Until Daniel Sturridge saved Chelsea in the second half, it looked like Birmingham might storm into Stamford Bridge and win.
As the game winded down, Birmingham had an excellent chance to earn a win, but they couldn't convert. Instead the game resulted in a 1-1 draw, and Chelsea were booed off their home field.
If this match wasn't bad enough, a replay is now scheduled for Tuesday, giving Chelsea a grueling four games in 11 days stretch.
Feb. 21 Napoli: C-
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Chelsea knew they had their work cut out for them trying to stop the three-headed monster that is Edinson Cavani, Marek Hamsik and Ezequiel Lavezzi.
As expected, Chelsea's defense folded under such pressure. Unexpectedly, however, Juan Mata opened the scoring, giving Chelsea a glimmer of hope.
Napoli quickly struck back and took a 2-1 lead before half. A third goal came in the second half, putting Chelsea in a tough position heading into the second leg.
However, Chelsea do have an away goal. They did attack well (didn't finish well, but still). And they carved apart Napoli's defense for much of the night. If Chelsea's defense can play well in the second leg, Chelsea still have a reasonable chance of advancing.
It wasn't a good result, but it definitely wasn't a horrible result.
Feb. 25 Bolton: B+
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This match gives Chelsea hope.
Chelsea beat up Bolton, like they were expected to, and they are in good form heading into their brutal stretch. Frank Lampard looked good, which could mean he will become a more regular selection.
The defense held a below-average Bolton attack in check. Chelsea finished around the net, and things just went well for the Blues.
Still, it's what Chelsea were supposed to do. Bolton are at the bottom of the table, and Chelsea are in the top third. A 3-0 win is expected. It was good, but Chelsea could've been sharper.
It's a good sign, but this win simply means Chelsea avoided a full-fledged disaster. It's a solid win, but nothing more.
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February was not kind to Chelsea.
The Blues took a few steps back and only one step forward. There were some embarrassing losses and draws, and the club only won one match.
If Chelsea want to be successful, they need to win more than one match in a month. Sounds reasonable, right? Unfortunately, it's easier said than done, especially with the state the club is in.
Whether Andre Villas-Boas is around for another month or not, Chelsea are going to struggle to turn things around. With that said, the win to end the month is a good sign.
After a hopeless month, a late-month win gives Chelsea hope. February wasn't good, but March looks promising.
Let's hope that promise turns into something good.